Rumor Mill: T-Mobile to add $5 to data add-ons for subsidized devices

T-Mobile USA will add $5 to the cost of its 5 GB and 10 GB data add-on packages for customers with subsidized devices, according to the blog TMoNews. The move could lead more customers to adopt T-Mobile's cheaper Value plans, which are available to customers who do not purchase a subsidized handset.

According to the blog, which cited internal documents, T-Mobile on April 4 will increase the price of its Classic Premium 5 GB Promotional Bundles and Classic Ultra 10 GB Promotional Bundle data features. The 5 GB bundle will go up to $35 and the 10 GB bundle will go up to $65, making them $10 more expensive than the company's Value plans that offer the same amount of data.

A T-Mobile spokeswoman declined to comment.

According to the blog, customers who signed up for the Classic plans before April 4 will not see their prices change, and Value pricing plans will not change. Additionally, the carrier will continue to sell as a promotional offer free Mobile Hotspot and MobileLife Album Plus services with its 5 GB and 10 GB add-on plans.

The price changes could be a bid by T-Mobile to entice more customers to sign up for its Value plans. Those plans, introduced in July 2011, allow customers to pay the full price for a device or set up payments in monthly installments. Customers can also bring their own device to T-Mobile's network and in return they get the company's most affordable rate plans, thus saving subscribers money over the life of their contract. The plans are designed to push subscribers away from T-Mobile's subsidized handsets.

Earlier this month, T-Mobile CMO Cole Brodman said at an industry conference that the way wireless carriers heavily subsidize the cost of devices for consumers is ultimately hurting the industry, but he conceded that the status quo is not likely to change any time soon. "Purchasing phones at steep discount (subsidized by wireless carriers) devalues the incredible technology innovations coming to market," Brodman wrote in a follow-up blog post. "It distorts the cost of devices and creates an uneven playing field for OEMs, carriers and retailers alike."

For more:
- see this TMoNews post
- see this The Verge article

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